THE Weardale Steel works at Wolsingham looked set to be rescued this week.

Anglo-Swedish, a Newcastle-based organisation, was expected to sign the deal to take over the company as the Advertiser was going to press.

Anglo-Swedish managing director Les Graham said that initially the company would be employing a 'smaller more compact workforce'.

But Mr Graham added: "We expect this to grow substantially in the very near future."

He said that Anglo-Swedish had agreed to buy, not lease, Weardale Steel from the Langham group of companies but he would not reveal the sum involved.

He envisaged that much of the specialist steelmaking would carry on at Wolsingham, along with Anglo-Swedish orders for boiler repairs and pipe-making.

The Wolsingham company would continue to trade as Weardale Steel, said Mr Graham.

Meanwhile, 21 former Weardale Steel workers who were kept on to complete overseas orders worth £1.4m following the collapse of the company six months ago, will be paid off next Monday.

They were employed temporarily by the nearby Bonds foundry at Tow Law to complete the work on the directions of administrators Poppleton and Appleby, of Sheffield.